Agrodolce Pork Tenderloin Recipe
Pork tenderloin is one of my go-to meats when I need to make something that seems fancy-schmancy but is really as easy as can be. It is the kind of thing I can whip up on a weeknight if I for some reason need to impress people but is also elegant enough for a Saturday night.
This Agrodolce Pork Tenderloin recipe is one of those kinds of recipes. So elegant, so delicious, and really … so simple.
Agrodolce is Italian and it means sweet and sour. It is a traditional Italian sauce that is typically made by reducing vinegar and sugar or honey with the addition of other ingredients such as onions and raisins. It goes well with just about anything, but I find it seems to have a particular affinity for pork.
I make my agrodolce sauce with rice vinegar. I find it less harsh and milder than using red wine vinegar, which is more common. My rice vinegar of choice is Marukan organic rice vinegar.
This is a simple meal perfect for summer entertaining. I like to serve the pork and salad together on a large cutting board for an elegantly rustic feel. You could certainly add a starch to this meal; roasted fingerling potatoes would be perfect!
- 1 (1-1½ pound) pork tenderloin
- Kosher or fine sea salt
- Black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 large or two medium red onions
- 4 tablespoons olive oil , divided
- 1 cup golden raisins
- ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon Marukan organic rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons cold butter
- 1 head Boston or red leaf lettuce
- 1 cup Italian flat leaf parsley
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup toasted almond slivers
Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Combine 1½ teaspoons salt, ¾ teaspoon pepper, and the garlic powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle the mixture over the pork and let sit.
Cut the onion in half from root to stem, peel, and cut into 16 wedges (per onion).
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the pork and brown well on all sides, about 2 minutes per side, 6-8 minutes total. Remove the pork from the pan and place on a plate. Add the onions to the skillet with a large pinch of both salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
Combine ¾ cup vinegar with the water, honey, and red pepper flakes and add to the onions once they are browned. Add the raisins and stir to combine. Add the pork back into the skillet, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook, turning every few minutes, for about 12 minutes. The best way to check for doneness is with an instant-read thermometer. Cook the pork to 140 degrees. Remove from the sauce and let sit for 5-10 minutes. The sauce should be reduced and thickened at this point but if not, cook for a few more minutes. Add the butter and stir until melted.
While the pork is cooking, make the salad. Combine the lettuce and parsley in a bowl. Whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard. Pour over the lettuce and parsley and toss.
Slice the pork and cover with the sauce. Sprinkle the almonds over the salad and pork and serve.
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